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  1. Hi Arne, (this is long) We just came back from 5 days in San Fran, Dec. 23 - 27th. Believe it or not, I did more walking than eating there, as it was beautifully sunny and warm during the day. (People who live there disagreed, however.) Anyway, just to let you know, we took a winery day tour through the company, GuideYou.com, which is operated by the Bay City Guide. It was $125 for 2 of us. We didn't do any research on any companies, just booked it the day before. It's not that it was bad, it just wasn't good either. Huge motor coach, half empty, and the driver's character set a poor mood right from the start for me. Someone asked him, "How long have you been a tour guide?" and he replied with something like, "Found a rut, packed my bags, and moved right in." Funny to some, I guess. How I want to describe him is, "Las Vegas" style. Can't judge a tour by its driver alone, however. The wineries we visited were Mont St. John/Madonna, Viansa, and Cline. Tour info here: http://www.guideyou.com/prod_view.php?prod_idx=11 Being the first one, Madonna, had an easy job as the audience was fresh, but, too much time spent in the parking lot. We aren't sure if this is standard or not? Is their a schedule to follow? Or was it because our driver fell asleep inside the bus? No joke, we had to wake him up by pounding on the bus door. For me, Cline was the best out of the three for its traditional atmosphere. Viansa could have been missed altogether as it came across as too commercialized. However, I could imagine it would be lovely to sit with lunch and a glass of wine on their terrace in the summer for the view. Did I buy any wines? No, none stood out for me, but, as you know, I'm more an eater than a drinker. As this was the first guided wine tour by bus I have ever taken I can't really say if it's standard or not. (I biked one in New Zealand.) I'm glad I saw the area (would like to see it again in the summer), but would consider another mode of getting there. It's good you have time to research and find something less touristy and more intimate perhaps. If you haven't done so already, look at Trip Advisor's forum too. Also, ate at the restaurant, Bushi-tei, in Japantown, twice while we were there. We stayed at the Hotel Kabuki across the street so it was very convenient. Absolutely beautiful interior! If I had to choose a last meal it would be their "Seared foie gras, pumpkin pot de creme and grilled Sonoma lamb chop with wasabi port sauce". I told the server that if I died on the plane ride back to Vancouver, he could rest assured I died happy.
  2. This thread reminded me of a You Tube video I saw years ago. If you watch it, please remember it is a spoof on eating sushi and should not be taken seriously. Perhaps, people who have lived in Japan, will find this more entertaining than people who haven't. There seems to be as many reviewers commenting on food they may have limited knowledge of as there are fusion restaurants serving food they also have limited knowledge of, some doing it better than others, so it should all be taken with a grain of salt. I have wondered why someone can review a sushi-ya, but doesn't comment on the rice, one of the most important parts. I always want to know if the rice is a blend or is sweet, sour, vinegary, al dente, mushy, warm etc. (I'm sure there are better words to describe the rice, but I'm not a food writer.) Has anyone see a review that comments on the rice?
  3. Welcome Newbie. Glad you had an eating good time here. I was in P.G. last year and went to a restaurant that formerly was owned by Chef Moreno Miotto. Is it still open and doing well?
  4. Just wondering if this thread has been continued somewhere else? Am curious about Therese's and Daniel's trips to Paris.
  5. I am also planning a trip to France and am happy you asked your question. My first destination is Paris as I've never been, but am being swayed by the advice given here. Thanks for al the help.
  6. I have to disagree with this one and can someone explain why this place is so popular. My sister and I went into this cafe to have one of these supposed great coffees after some very intensive shopping. While I was STANDING IN THE LINEUP I noticed the noise level to be very high which was still bearable, but then the hissing and slamming of the barista sent us and all of our shopping bags out onto the street in a flurry. It would be very difficult to have a conversation in that place unless you were used to screaming at each other. I would head a few doors down from the Wedgewood, going West, to a small cafe (can't remember the name) that serves paninis, pastas, etc. It seems to be frequented by the courthouse employees. Have only been there once, but it was a nice retreat from the street.
  7. Burger better than last week. Slight pink to the patty and I added mustard. The only negative comment: the lid was cold again. Did anyone ask where the buns come from?
  8. This past Sunday I raced from visiting my friend in Ladner to Burnaby to make it to burger club at Burgers Etc. by 6 p.m. only to find I got the date mixed up. The staff were sympathetic and because I was so hungry I decided to stay and eat a burger alone which I didn't mind as then I could really concentrate on the burger. I was so hungry though that even a McD's would have tasted great. Of course, this opinion could be entirely different this coming Sunday. I think you will all be happy with the meat to bun ratio. The bun possibly is one of the best I've had although the lid was too cold. I had the basic burger with lettuce, tomato, hold the onions, ketchup, and mayo. Pickle comes on top which I put inside. Meat tasted like meat and slightly seasoned. Lettuce and tomato were fresh and crisp. When biting into it, juice ran down my hand so I think the meat was done to an agreeable level of "mythical" legislation. A bit dry around the edges though. Looking inside, the patty was charred maybe a little too much, but I didn't mind as I like that bitter charcoal flavour. If only better tomatoes could be found and add some mustard I think in its nakedness this is a really good burger. Also had the fries. They were familiar...possibly Sysco brand that come in brown bags in a white and blue box. Regardless of the rep Sysco has, I think these fries are really good. Menu looks interesting too with some pulled pork and brisket items.
  9. My mistake. It wasn't the BC Chefs Assoc. It was according to the e-mail I rec'd CHTRC (anyone know what this stands for, maybe a hospitality, tourism, and recreation assoc???) and was held at GPC Public Affairs, #615 - 700 West Pender Street in January. The facilitators were Gail Haarsma and Verónika Sanchez. Don't know who they are either. Supposedly, the only chef who attended from BC was a David Larsen from Painter's Lodge. There were also 4 other industry people from the Yukon and Saskatchewan. It was called, "A Cook's Focus". I also heard someone from Aurora Bistro was going to attend. Any info Chef Jeff? Perhaps this was such a small, disorganized forum that it wasn't important enough for the B.C. Chefs Assoc. to get involved.
  10. And the board goes silent. You answered my next question...so there's no labour shortage FOH in Vancouver. So, what's stopping the change? I believe there was a forum held a few months ago by the BC Chef Assoc that's sole purpose was to discuss the need for cooks for the 2010 Olympics, but I couldn't make it. Did anyone go? Was money discussed? Probably not. I was invited to it through my school, NWCAV. I'm going to find out what was discussed and if there were any resolutions. There would have to be a cap on the tips, but that wouldn't be difficult either.
  11. Thank you for the explanation. Appreciate it. When I was at work no one wanted to have this discussion. A busser is possibly making more money than a cook. The giant can of worms needs to be opened in order for changes to occur. Thanks Neil. No overhead, but dealing face to face with the public deserves some rewards. I'm feeling less bad about some of those staff meals I made for the servers.
  12. You're the art and we're the dealers. ← These kinds of statements although witty to some take this discussion no where. Sounds like a great idea, but I'm not sure what it means. Please explain. I'm a newbie cook and would like to know more about the financial side of the biz. It sounds like some restaurants take a % of the tips and you are suggesting they should pass this on to the kitchen staff instead. Is that right? What is the breakdown say of a place like West or Lumiere?
  13. Went to Vera's on Denman yesterday and they didn't have the ingredients available to make the Thai burger that won the contest.
  14. Thank you, I knew you would come through for me. I miss Japan and Matsusaka beef.
  15. A great night out for my first 2006 e-gullet outing. I'm sure Jeff and Chef Julian will be reading this so I would like to thank them for their hospitality. They went above and beyond what I expected. I must say, at first, when Jeff explained what he did and called himself a "day leader", I couldn't get the thought of Wal-Mart or summer camp out of my head. I suppose there is a reason for this new terminology, but it just didn't seem to suit Jeff and I like the word manager better. I would be curious to know what they call their different levels of cooks...vegetable leader, starch leader, protein leader. Anyway, they definitely have a very efficient system and improving on it constantly. I'm on the fence about whether or not this is a good thing. Business wise, it's makes complete sense, but it also scares me that the whole food industry will become too technical. CC is serving a lot of people who don't think about where their food comes from or how it is made. Chef Julian, however, often did say things like, "it still has real cream, real potatoes, and real butter in it" etc. so it showed me that it is important to him to still use fresh product. I'm straying off topic... Re: the food. I think they have reached their market. The menu does what Chef J says, there is something for everyone. I could find something wrong with every dish we had (i.e. the salsa (or was it a fish tartare?) with deep-fried won tons needed more citrus; the chili sauce on the chicken was too sweet; the salmon and inari poke needed more avocado; the sablefish was over cooked), but I'm not their market. As for the burger, the size is decent and on first impression it looks like a delicious burger. Unfortunately, IMO, they need to work on the meat patty. The bun and condiments are really fresh, generous amounts, and good, so the meat needs to be better It's a decent thickness, but it really lacked flavour (I think most of us picked out a piece of meat to try it alone). I've tried this burger twice now and it won't get a third try. I would order the sablefish entree with mashed potatoes, making sure I ask the server to let the kitchen know to under cook it. This was probably the best dish of the night for me. To end re: food, all the desserts were too sweet for me and the ice-cream didn't have enough vanilla flavour. If I had to pick one, it would be the apple tart. As this location is in my neighbourhood, I will visit again to try some of the other menu items as well as their drink concoctions (liked the Brazillian too) because I like the atmosphere, service, the bathrooms (they are getting TV screens), Jeff, and Chef Julian. As Earl's is their competitor, I have to say, not considering the food (I haven't eaten enough of it to be able to compare), I prefer the atmosphere at Cactus Club. (This is comparing the Ash CC location with the Earl's on Broadway and at Paramount as these are the only locations I've been to). Joie mentioned that Earl's makes a pretty good burger so I'll try that next. The highlight for me was meeting Chef Julian. He has amazing energy and passion. I hope he reads this so he knows that he gave me a much needed boost. I'm sure he has unknowlingly inspired many cooks.
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